Father and daughter Tom and Molly Martens have had their convictions for the murder of Irishman Jason Corbett reversed in the US.
The pair were convicted of second-degree murder following a five-week trial in 2017.
They admitted to beating the Irishman to death at his home in North Carolina in August 2015; however, they claimed they were acting in self-defence.
In a judgement today, the North Carolina Court of Appeals reversed their convictions and called for a re-trial.
The North Carolina Supreme Court is now expected to call a re-trial early next year.
In a lengthy judgement published today, the state’s appeals court said the issues raised by the pair on appeal are “interconnected and complex” but said the case itself is “deceptively simple.”
It said the case boils down to whether they “lawfully used deadly force to defend themselves and each other during the tragic altercation with Jason.”
It found that errors in the original trial “alone and in aggregate” were prejudicial enough to prevent them from presenting a meaningful defence.
It also found that the trial judge should not have given the jury instruction regarding the “aggressor doctrine” – which outlines that a defendant cannot claim self-defence “unless he withdraws from the conflict in good faith.”
The original trial heard that the Martens beat the 39-year-old Irishman to death with a baseball bat and paving stone at his home while he was sleeping.
Mr Corbett’s two children were asleep upstairs during the attack.
The Martens’ claimed Mr Corbett had been attacking Molly and said they acted in self-defence.
Mr Corbett’s family maintained he had been planning to bring his children back to live in Ireland.
The Father and daughter were sentenced to between 20 and 25 years in prison.
Ms Martens had her term extended due to breaches of prison rules and was due for release in 2041.